Early Monday morning, Sept. 25, Eugene Police Department officers and Lane County Sheriff’s deputies raided Candice King’s home as well as the two other houses on the property. Police closed off 5th and Almaden, blocking protesters from the entrance of the property.
A couple protesters who tried to enter the property say they were thrown on the ground and another kicked in the knees. Other protesters allege that an Oregon state trooper drove his car toward a group of protesters, but that they were able to jump out of the way. Oregon State Police say they have no record of being involved in the incident.
EPD Public Information Officer Melinda McLaughlin says that there were no reports of violence and that the eviction was carried out with no arrests or injuries. McLaughlin adds that while clearing the property, police confiscated a firearm in plain view. Lane County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sgt. Tom Speldrich also says there were no records of violence reported.
In addition to closing off the street, police also seized furniture in the house and on the property at request of the landowner, Sharon Prager. This is the second time in two months police have raided the property, the first time was July 5 when protesters and law enforcement went head to head for the same reason: whether King gets to keep her house.
King and the Almaden Street Co-Op movement have been protesting King’s eviction from the property since she stopped paying rent in March. King, who has tried multiple times to purchase her home in the past, lists poor management of the property, financial insecurity after the death of her husband in a state historically unfriendly to Black people, and the belief that everyone should be able to own their home as reasons for no longer paying her landlord, Prager, and R&R Properties. Since then Prager and King have been in and out of court fighting eviction and attempting to have legal negotiations for King to buy her house from Prager and create a community living space.
Protester and friend of King’s, Erin Grady, says, “We still intend on purchasing the house and creating the Almaden Street Co-Op.”
Three houses stand on Prager’s property. Since the Almaden Street Co-Op movement began, all of the tenants that lived on the property have been threatened with eviction or evicted because they deemed King and her family as their “guests.”
Now that police have raided the property a second time, King and the rest of the movement are faced with the challenge of what’s next.
While King is trying to get her belongings back that were taken by police, Grady says the rest of the movement is regrouping to try and figure out how to make purchasing the property a real possibility.
“A family with four kids won’t have shelter tonight because of this,” Grady says. “Those people will be taken care of because we are a community, but this shouldn’t have to happen.”
To learn more about Candice King’s rent strike and the Almaden Street Co-Op movement, go to EugeneRentStrike.org and AlmadenCoop.org
After this story was published, protester and friend of Candice King, Erin Grady shared a video with Eugene Weekly showing a vehicle driving slowly through a crowd of protesters on Sept. 28. She clarified it was a Lane County Sheriff’s vehicle that was originally misidentified as a Oregon State Police vehicle.
Grady also alleges that a protester, who asked to be anonymous due to “compounded trauma and stress,” was pushed to her knees by a Eugene Police Department officer during the raid. Grady provided a photo of the injury. As noted earlier, EPD has said there were no reports of injuries.
In response to EPD’s allegation that officers found “a firearm in plain view,” Grady says it was a BB gun in a vehicle outside King’s house.